Iconic Fairfield Glade restaurant moving after 30 years on Peavine
By BILL PIECUCH
For The Vista
Restaurant names may reflect a theme like Mexican, Chinese, or a location, or simply be a play on words. The important thing to consider is the impression left with customers.
Names easy to spell are easy to remember. Lefty’s Barbeque, a Fairfield Glade icon and fabled eatery, recently disappeared from the local landscape.
The signage in front of the Peavine Road location is down. The tables and equipment have been moved out. Sad.
But far from being forgotten, the restaurant endured and left a valued – and promising – postscript. Lefty’s, as it turns out, was founded 30 years ago by a right-handed person who actually only golfed from the left side.
Quick flash back: Funding for Phase I of Peavine Road improvements includes widening Peavine Road from Firetower Road to east of Lakeview Drive for a total of 2.9 miles, a move that sadly, runs right through Lefty’s kitchen.
Bottom line: Good bye, good friend. Lefty’s closed in early January.
“Yeah, a sad day for me, my family and our customers in Fairfield Glade,” said Owner Bill Sanders, as he watched his refrigeration unit loaded on a truck outside of the now condemned and deserted building.
“But you know what? “he reflected, “This is also a great opportunity. By late spring of this year we will reopen and continue to serve old customers and make new friends in Fairfield Glade.”
Sanders said Lefty’s will be opening a brand new building one exit west at Genesis Road on I-40 — about 10 minutes from the former Peavine location.
“Frankly, we can’t wait to serve our same menu of ribs, pork chops, catfish, burgers and pulled pork sandwiches,” Sanders said.
Then, with a pause, a sigh followed by a smile he said, “That’ll be good.”
Sanders’ was raised with his two brothers and sister on a farm located in western Tennessee’s Madison County. The farm raised cotton, hogs, and water melons. In 1969 his father took a sales job requiring travel with Crossville being on the westernmost boundary of his territory. The family decided to relocate to the City of Crossville and settled into a home on Hillcrest Drive.
Sanders’ father left traveling sales and began operating a full service restaurant with a catering service that met the needs for Fairfield Glade,local business, organizations and personal catering. His mission was clear: Use the finest meats and ingredients for barbecue, offer home made side dishes and made from scratch desserts, and pay full attention to customers.
A search of Google listed these responses: “We have eaten a lot of BBQ all around the country and this was the best. Had the pulled pork BBQ sandwich platter one with onion rings and one with French fries and neither sandwich had a speck of fat in the meat and the flavor was amazing. Had an order of hush puppies and they were the best we’ve had…”
Another noted: “This is a little out of the way barbecue shack that I stumbled upon about two miles after exiting interstate 40. I had the pork tenderloin sandwich with some corn and coleslaw. The meat was tender and delicious. The service was quick and friendly. The owner even walked out and made sure to talk to everyone in the dining room….”
Bill Sanders graduated from Tennessee Tech in 1984 with a degree in Business Management.
He worked with his parents at Lefty’s until graduation, then spent a year in the convention sales department at Fairfield Glade before continuing his business career in Georgia.
His father passed away in May 2005 at age 75. His mother ran the business until she passed in 2007 at the age 73. But just prior to her passing, she asked Bill if he’d return. He did in year 2006.
In year 2007 Bill became the owner.
“We knew of the plan to alter Peavine Road at that time. Mom and Dad were going to retire when the TDot project forced the close, but a delay in the project changed the plan. After their passing I could not think of a better way to honor their memory than to keep Lefty’s alive”.
The new location will be located next to Pilot at the Genesis exit on I-40. Sanders said the new building will be built on a vacant plot and accommodate about 120 people.
His attitude about starting over is upbeat, noting that in year 2011 sales at the Peavine location begin to slip.
“Even if we could stay at the Peavine location, the presence of construction would really hurt sales,” he said.
And “Lefty’s” name? It remains. A memory and tribute of a father who could work with either hand and loved to serve the community he lived in with both.